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Web Log - Pybackpack

Pybackpack 0.5.4 - A File Is For Life...

By Andrew Price, 2007-12-24 16:20:06 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Blatantly copy&pasted from the mailing list:

Seems that people file bugs when I make releases so here's another one with some more bug fixes. I'm fresh out of wrapping paper and tinsel so .tar.gz will have to suffice :-)


New in v0.5.4 (23/12/2007)
+ Code cleanup based on pychecker results
+ Use genisoimage instead of mkisofs
+ Rearrange the source tree for easier installation and packaging
+ Set the backup set path on creation (bug #60)
+ Strip newlines from MRU entries

Note that the source tree has been rearranged a bit and pybackpack now depends on genisoimage instead of mkisofs so packaging will need to be updated.

Pybackpack 0.5.3 - Amidst The Storm

By Andrew Price, 2007-12-09 16:57:04 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Over the last week I've pushed out two versions of pybackpack. The first (0.5.2) included some background changes to encapsulate backup set data in two classes: BackupSet and BackupSets. This makes it easier to write extensions such as Seth Vidal's nautilus extension. I've updated his script and sent him the patch. The nifty highlight:

-        total_files = backup['filelist_inc'] + real_files
-        total_files.sort()
-        flist = []
-        for file in total_files:
-            flist.append((file, True))
-        extrakeys = {'default_dest':backup['default_dest'],
-                     'removable':backup['removable']}    
-        rdiff_interface.WriteSet(backup['name'],
-                    backup['desc'],
-                    flist,
-                    True, extrakeys)
+        backup.files_include.extend(real_files)
+        backup.write()


Oh, and 0.5.3 was a hurried bug-fix release because I'm an idiot.

Pybackpack Gets Some Nautilus Love

By Andrew Price, 2007-08-23 04:07:13 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Seth Vidal has knocked up a clever little script that lets you add files and directories to a backup set by simply right-clicking on them in a nautilus window. Thanks, Seth.

The pybackpack list is now aflutter with ideas for the future and ways to improve pybackpack's extensibility. Yay for rekindled enthusiasm.

Remember, kids, a backed up file is a happy file.

...The Person Got Sponsored

By Andrew Price, 2007-06-22 00:21:03 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Following on from my previous entry about getting sponsored to upload pybackpack into Fedora, I'm pleased to say that I've now been sponsored. I was surprised that it came so soon but after writing the previous blog entry and requesting a sponsor on fedora-devel-list@, Jeremy Katz got in touch with me and, after I had made a few necessary fixes to my packaging, approved it and sponsored me. I'm now awaiting the pybackpack CVS module to be created and then I can go ahead and maintain my package in Fedora. Happy days. Thanks to all the people who took time to review my RPM packaging and provide excellent feedback.

Pybackpack 0.5.1 - Towel Not Included

By Andrew Price, 2007-05-27 02:24:44 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Pybackpack 0.5.1 has been released. It contains a hefty portion of small tweaks to improve ease of packaging and fix a few bugs. See the changelog for more details. You can find the latest version of pybackpack on the downloads page on the wiki.

Pybackpack deb packages are now available in Debian's unstable and testing repositories and consequently, from the universe repository in Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon. Packages for 0.5.1 should be uploaded soon.

Pybackpack Loves Debian (And Ubuntu Too)

By Andrew Price, 2007-04-29 02:51:19 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

I'm pleased to report that after an almost three-week wait in Debian's NEW queue, pybackpack is now available in the Debian Sid (unstable) repository. Hurrah. This means that it'll be available in Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) too.

Before the 0.5.0 release I hadn't yet made friends with pybackpack's code and I was hesitant to submit pybackpack into a big distro like Debian. At one point It was uploaded to Ubuntu's REVU but I requested it to be removed. Now I'm more confident that I know the code and I have a good picture in my head of what's going to happen next in its development.

I'm sure that pybackpack still has plenty of bugs that need ironing out and it needs some more tender loving care but having it in Debian and Ubuntu will hopefully encourage more feedback in the form of bug reports and other contributions. That way I'll be able to get a better idea about which direction to take it in.

Now I just need to get this coursework and my exams out of the way so that I can give myself some proper hacking time. Bah, computer science degrees - they're nothing but trouble.


By Andrew Price, 2007-04-16 15:59:22 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Since the release of pybackpack 0.5.0 last week I've seen an impressive blip in the amount of attention the project is getting. I've received more feature requests, bug reports, suggestions and other pybackpack-related emails this week than there has been in the last 6 months. It's pretty exciting, and it's really keeping me busy and motivated.

In an attempt to focus this new attention and to build a small community around pybackpack, I set up a pybackpack mailing list for users and contributors to share ideas, give each other support and coordinate work on the project. I'm happy to say that it's so far been successful, with 25 messages hitting the archive since I set up the list yesterday morning.

Surprisingly the first bunch of people to participate in the discussion on the list all seem to be Mac OS X and Ubuntu users so there's been a lot of talk about how to get pybackpack working on OS X using packages from Fink, presumably so that backups can be made from their Mac laptops using their Ubuntu machines as backup servers. The discussions have already been productive - a wiki page about how to get pybackpack running on OS X has made its way onto the project trac. It's pretty exciting, especially considering pybackpack still has a long way to go before it becomes the simple-to-use backup tool that it was conceived to be.

I'm happily taking the suggestions of the Mac crowd on board. To make pybackpack more accessible to non-gnome users, it's going to need to be further decoupled from the gnome-specific libraries such as nautilusburn and gnome-vfs which, although they provide cheap, well tested and convenient functionality, tend to limit the scope of pybackpack's distribution. The plan will eventually be to not necessarily remove these libraries completely (if they add enough value to the program) but to provide generic fallbacks which should allow pybackpack to cope without being in a Gnome environment. A lot of work also needs to be done to make pybackpack prettier and more HIG-friendly.

All this work will get done eventually, and I'm excited about how it's going to turn out once its done. Unfortunately I'm going to have to put my head back into the books very soon and knock pybackpack down my priority list a few places. I've let far too much coursework stack up over this Easter break and once that's out of the way I need to start preparing for exams. Sigh. Oh well, at least I'm having fun.

Pybackpack 0.5.0 - Obligatory Catchy Release Tagline

By Andrew Price, 2007-04-10 00:21:00 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Pybackpack 0.5.0 is now available. It includes some big changes behind the scenes including:

I'm quite excited about this release. Although pybackpack hasn't changed much visually or functionally, the changes made since the last release will make the development process smoother and future changes easier to integrate.

For those who might be interested, I've now filed a Debian ITP for pybackpack and I've submitted an RFS for it too (see pybackpack's page on so hopefully we'll see pybackpack in Debian some time soon.

I'm eager to get plenty of feedback about this release so please head over to the pybackpack download page to check it out and please report bugs on the trac.

PyBackPack 0.4.5 - Trees Hug Back

By Andrew Price, 2007-01-06 04:29:49 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

PyBackPack 0.4.5 has now been released. It includes tweaks for general GUI friendliness (fixed redrawing bugs and the progress bar now gives a better indication of progress) and much needed performance-related fixes.

Get it, file bugs. Oh, and happy new year :)

PyBackPack 0.4.4 - Just Like Buses

By Andrew Price, 2006-11-20 00:49:36 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

It's official, I suck. I released the last version without incrementing the version number in That means that I screwed up the release by one character. Sigh.

Anyway, to minimise embarrassment I hunted down two quite nasty bugs and fixed them in order to justify a quick second release this weekend. Adequate for redemption, I hope. Go get it.

PyBackPack 0.4.3 - One Small Step For Man

By Andrew Price, 2006-11-18 04:58:59 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

It's happened. I finally got off my lazy arse and made a new release of pybackpack - my first release since I took over the reins from Dave.

It's only a minor release but I needed to break the ice and learn the release process. There have been a few small changes and two showstopper-ass-kickers, including another update to account for the nautilus cd burning API changing since the last release.

There are plenty more bugs to be worked out so don't be surprised if it throws a wobbly at some point. If it does, make sure you let me know the details.

Softly, Softly, Catchy Snakey

By Andrew Price, 2006-09-03 18:52:35 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

Admittedly, my progress on pyBackPack has been somewhat slow to materialise. I have two main excuses:

  1. I want to be careful to avoid turning pyBackPack into a horrible mess of code that is unmaintainable in the future. This involves learning the existing code and the interfaces to the libraries it uses so that I know all of its intricacies before I make any drastic changes to it. It also involves looking at other (good) python projects and absorbing clue from how they're structured;
  2. I've been looking into some limitations of the libraries that pyBackPack uses which might effect its usefulness quite drastically unless some big changes are made. Luckily the limitations don't seem to be as threatening as I had first feared and one of them will certainly be fixed for the next release.

That said, I have done some work tinkering with pyBackPack's trac and subversion repository. The repository is now organised into the traditional trunk/tags/branches structure which will allow me (and any other contributors that might come along in the future) to do some experimental work without worrying about screwing up the main trunk of development. I have also scoured the tickets in the trac and reassigned them all to me, closed ones which didn't apply any more and asked for more feedback on some of the more ambiguous ones. Oh, and deleted comment spam (sigh).

I must remember to figure out what revision Dave released as version 0.4.2 so I can tag it. There will certainly be some compatibility issues with the next release due to the nautilusburn API being a moving target and I'm keen to avoid falling behind with the latest developments in nautilusburn, rdiff-backup, glade, etc.

Speaking of releases, I'm open to suggestions for a release strategy. I know the old saying goes "Release early, release often" so I'll probably use that as a guideline.

I've Bagged pyBackPack

By Andrew Price, 2006-08-16 22:48:41 in Pybackpack. (Permalink)

As I mentioned in my previous entry, Dave had given me the opportunity to take his 2005 Google Summer of Code project, pyBackPack, off his hands and carry on its development after he had just about abandoned the code. Today the handover was made and pyBackPack is now my first ever real open source project. I'm very excited about it.

pyBackPack is a pretty nifty file backup manager written in python with a GUI built with Glade2. I have dabbled in python/GTK+ programming before so it should be pretty easy to get to grips with the code. Some new underlying concepts such as rdiff, mkisofs, cdrecord and programmatically transferring files over SFTP, parallel concepts such as rolling .rpm and .deb packages and general package maintenance will be new aspects to me but I'm sure my enthusiasm will plug those gaps in my skillset soon enough. My development will be mostly done using Ubuntu (I have 6.06 and Edgy to test it on) and I have an Fedora Core 5 install to test it on too but I'm hoping others will get involved and take some of the distro-centric tasks off my hands.

To keep you up-to-date with pyBackPack development and download releases, code and screenshots I've started a pyBackPack page which I'll make pretty and add more to in good time.

So, thanks Dave, I'm sure I'll be badgering you to explain some of your more eccentric coding decisions for the next few weeks :)

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